Shopee Malaysia has jumped in on the hot conversation of a viral video that Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng, who is better known as "Uncle Roger", uploaded recently. Ng criticised BBC Food host Hersha Patel for rinsing cooked rice with a colander in her recipe video for egg fried rice. Ng said in his video: "How can you drain rice with colander? This is not pasta. I've never seen anyone drain rice."
In a Facebook post, Shopee posted an ad for a colander with the caption: "Colanders are for rinsing the vegetables or other ingredients to fry your rice with, not to rinse the rice, especially not after you boil it." The post also added that this is not acceptable, at least not how Asians do it. "Let's unite against cruelty against rice," Shopee said. Shopee's Facebook ad has garnered 11,000 positive reactions, 932 comments, and 9,600 shares at the time of writing. Besides Facebook, the ad is also posted on Twitter, Instagram, and Shopee's in-app feed.
In a statement to A+M, Lok Weng Lum, marketing lead, Shopee Malaysia, said the platform knew it could pull this marketing stunt off because it is in line with Shopee’s identity as a brand that is in tune with the local community, society and cultures, and one that employs a hyper-localised marketing strategy.
"Our team of social media experts consistently monitors all platforms for topics that are trending. We found [Ng's video] to be humorous and we knew that our audience would find the joke relatable as we eat a lot of rice in Malaysia. Additionally, most Malaysians would agree that in our culture, we do not wash and rinse rice after it is cooked," Lok added.
Lok also said that the team at Shopee always looks to identify a potential angle for it to connect the topic back to its brand or products that are available on the platform. In this case, the ad is aimed to increase exposure and awareness on the availability of colanders on its platform.
Based in London, Ng's seven-minute reaction video caused a stir on social media, with many netizens commenting that they are offended by the way Patel cooked rice. One netizen even said: "As a Filipino who eats rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, BBC's rice cooking is so bad that I apologised to my parents and my dead ancestors for watching it." Another netizen commented: "Sent this to my husband. Just heard him shout 'WHAT IS SHE DOING?!?' from the bathroom."
Check out the video here:
Following the incident, Ng and Patel have since met up to discuss about the video in question. Patel has also taken to her personal Twitter account to address the public and call her way of cooking as "crimes" against rice. She added that there will be a collaboration between Ng and her soon.
Shopee Malaysia is not new to the trend jacking. Earlier in March this year, it leveraged on online political chatter to push the sales of Super Ring on its platform. This happened after a short clip circulated on social media showing an activist saying that some people have the impression that Malaysians are apathetic to politics and only stay at home and eat keropok (deep fried crackers) and Super Ring while watching the news.
In a Facebook post, Shopee said: "Who says Malaysians don't care about current affairs? For sure, it would be more fun to read or listen to the news with a favourite snack in hand." It also posted a picture of the Super Ring packaging with the caption "Malaysians’ favourite snacks are always on the news."
Separately in June last year, Shopee Malaysia also promoted its range of squishy toys by leveraging on recent online chatter surrounding a man who opened up and squeezed a few food and drink packages at a FamilyMart outlet in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan. After that in July, it also pushed out a tongue-in-cheek Facebook post to promote a bird's nest product by Kinohimitsu sold on its platform, tying it with the much discussed Visit Malaysia 2020's logo.
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